Motherhood changes you - in more ways than one (and in the best ways possible). Honestly, before I had my daughter, I thought I'd go back to working at least 3-4 days every week. Then my sweet girl came, and I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible - but I didn't want to give up my business. I LOVE what I do and can't imagine my life without it.
I'm so fortunate to have been able to switch up my schedule and make it work for my new life - I found the perfect balance of working two full days a week (at home), and spending the rest of the week with my girl. But that meant I had to get really productive and make sure I could still complete the tasks that needed to be done each week into a 2-day work week.
It sounds impossible, but it's actually not! With a bit of planning, you can figure out a schedule that fits into your life and most importantly doesn't stress you out - because Motherhood will do that for you anyway! Let's dive in.
1. I sit down and have a big planning session for each new month.
I know that sometimes it can feel like a waste of time to take an hour or so just to plan. But let me tell you, planning for the month ahead is so worth it. Especially when it feels like there aren't enough hours in the day or days in the week. One thing I've learned is that if you want to decrease the amount of time you spend working, you need to be really productive while you are working - and I mean really productive. Complete focused work time.
That's why I plan out what I want to get done each month ahead of time. I need to know what I'm going to be working on, before I'm actually working on it. That way, when I sit down each day, I can dive right in. That's productivity.
I start by making a very unorganized to-do list - basically just a brain dump. Nothing is in order or prioritized at this point. I just jot down everything I know I want to accomplish that month. After my brainstorming session, I start to prioritize everything - what's most important? Is there anything I need to push back to next month? I usually try to divide my tasks up at this point, because it helps make planning each week much easier. I have categories like product design, blogging, instagram, email newsletters, Pinterest, etc.
Once I have everything in a category and prioritized, I'm done my monthly planning. This process usually takes me about an hour. Sometimes I don't have an hour to spare on my work days, so I try to do this task while the baby naps during one of the days I'm not working.
2. I break down what I want to get done for the month into weekly tasks.
This step is very easy if you've done your monthly planning well. You already have things categorized and prioritized, so now it's time to break things down weekly. I do this in two ways - 1. During my monthly planning, I'll quickly assign things to a week. 2. This might change as the month goes on, so every Sunday (or Monday) I find time (I love nap time) to sit down and plan out my work week. I do this at the same time that I plan out my personal week, so I can have a good overview of what my week will look like before it even starts. This makes my type-A brain quite happy.
3. I break down those weekly tasks into the two days I work each week.
You can choose to do this while you're doing your weekly planning each Sunday, or you can wait to do this on the first day you work each week. To make things really easy for myself, I have certain tasks that get done on Tuesdays and certain tasks that get done on Thursdays (the two days I work each week). I follow this same formula every week and it is truly a game changer.
Here's an example of my work week -
Plan the work week
At least 10 Canva designs
Write and post a blog post
Create new pins and send to Pinterest manager to schedule
Misc. time (research, inspiration, brainstorming)
Instagram creation & scheduling
Of course things move around during the week and things definitely don't look this structured every week. Some of these things don't get done every week, but instead 2x/month or 1x/month, but I wanted to provide a basic example of my work week to hopefully help you in your planning process!
4. I create a monthly calendar that I set as my desktop background.
This is my favorite work hack. Every time I turn on my computer, I see a visual of my month completely planned out. This keeps me productive and inspired! I don't have a ton of actual working time, so these two things are key for me!
I take all that planning I did and assign tasks for every Tuesday and Thursday of the month. I just designed a pretty calendar for myself in Canva that I fill-in at the start of each month and then download and set as my desktop photo. I actually update this calendar at the end of each work day - cross off things that got done and move around those that didn't. I then re-download and reset as my desktop. Total game-changer for me!
5. I check in at the beginning of each week (and daily) to make any adjustments necessary and always update my calendar.
I've said this a lot throughout this post, but I wanted to add it again to reiterate - your monthly planning is never going to stay on track. Life happens and you will need to adjust tasks throughout the entire month.
I make sure to check in with my schedule and have a mini-planning session at the beginning of each work week. And I of course will reschedule tasks daily as needed.
If you decide to create a desktop calendar for yourself, make sure to update it at the end of each work day. It takes less than five minutes and will act as a great reminder when you turn on your computer the next day!